These easy vegan chickpea walnut taco meat crumbles are packed with healthy plant based protein, and also take just 5 minutes of prep time! (Gluten-free, oil-free.)
These vegan Chickpea Walnut Taco Crumbles are an easy, healthy meat substitute with great texture!
They make a fantastic base for tacos, burritos, nachos, Mexican-inspired salads, and more.
Plus they are a good source of plant-based protein and fiber.
And they only take 5 minutes of preparation time!
Ingredients for Chickpea Taco Meat
For this recipe you will combine in a food processor then bake in the oven:
- Chickpeas (garbanzo beans): You will need one 15 ounce can of chickpeas for this recipe. However if you cook your own beans from scratch, you will need about 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas.
- Walnuts: I use raw, unsalted. If you are using salted walnuts, simply reduce the salt in your taco seasoning if desired.
- Taco seasoning: I suggest using homemade, but you can also use your favorite store-bought seasoning. My easy homemade mixture has warm spices like chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Nutritional yeast: This is optional, for cheesy savory flavor.
Healthy alternative: These are much healthier than store-bought versions of vegan beef-style crumbles because they are made with simple, whole-food, plant-based ingredients and no oil!
Texture notes: If you prefer your crumbles tiny + crispy, pulse them longer into a finer meal.
Otherwise, to make them "juicier" add an additional 1-2 Tbsp. water and pulse just a few times to form larger crumbles.
The recipe below is a happy medium between the two, so play around to find the texture you love!
Spoon this vegan taco meat on corn tortillas, hard taco shells, burrito bowls, or large tortillas. Then add your favorite toppings before serving such as:
- Salsa Fresca (pico de gallo)
- Chipotle Crema (for smoky spice!)
- Guacamole or avocado
- Restaurant-Style Blender Salsa
- Vegan Cashew Queso
- Romaine lettuce, fresh tomatoes, onion, cilantro
- Vegan shredded cheese or vegan sour cream
- A squeeze of fresh lime juice
- Hot sauce to taste
Tip: We also enjoy these crumbles paired with black beans in this Vegan Taco Salad with Creamy Southwestern Dressing.
Store any leftover crumbles in a sealed container in the refrigerator. We find they keep for about 3-4 days.
Reheating: For reheating leftovers, simply add a touch of water, stir, then microwave to heat through. They become slightly dried out after refrigerating, but adding a little water re-hydrates them beautifully.
For more inspiration, also browse all easy vegan dinner recipes or taco recipes.
Chickpea-Walnut Taco Crumbles
- 15 oz. can chickpeas
- 3/4 cup walnuts (I use raw, unsalted)
- 3 Tbsp. taco seasoning (recipe below)
- 1 Tbsp. water
- Optional: 2-3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast for cheesy version
For the Taco Seasoning:
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. paprika (I like smoked paprika)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Make the taco seasoning: Add all seasoning ingredients to a small bowl or jar and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Rinse and drain chickpeas.
- In a food processor, add chickpeas, walnuts, taco seasoning, and 1 Tbsp. water. (Plus nutritional yeast if using.)
- Pulse a few times until small/medium crumbles are formed. Don't over-process to super-fine crumbles, unless that's what you desire. (See notes below on how to achieve various textures.)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread out crumbles.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Stir, then return to oven and bake for 10-12 more minutes. (Or to desired crispiness.)
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
If you are enjoying these chickpea walnut taco meat crumbles, also check out:
- Portobello Mushroom Fajitas
- Broccoli Cashew Stir Fry (Oil Free)
- Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Mushroom Pasta
- Easy Peanut Noodles
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I would not change a thing in this recipe. I also made the taco seasoning quadrupling the measurements. Delicious, nutritious meal that is not time consuming. Highly recommend.
Wonderful to hear, Julia! So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try and sharing your very kind feedback!
Fantastic recipe!! Such a simple recipe to make and so much tastier than ready-made crumbles! Thanks!
Awesome Jennifer! Always appreciate you giving the recipes a try. Have a great weekend!
Easy and delicious!
Great to hear!
Amazing! Thank you! Have been a vegetarian for a long time... and this is the first meat substitute I am so excited about! Appreciate you!
Yay! So fantastic to hear, Jolene. Thrilled you found a meat substitute you enjoy! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback.
Made these and they're so easy and so good! Even my kids like them!
Awesome. Thanks for sharing!
I made this tonight as I’ve been transitioning to a plant based diet. This was so delicious!! Thank you so much for the recipe! Taste like beef tacos! But no harming animals and super easy to make in my vitamix!
So wonderful to hear that, Staci! And love that you're transitioning to a plant-based diet. Thank you so much for giving this recipe a try and sharing your very kind feedback. Wishing you all the best in your new plant-based adventures!
Do I have to bake the mixture? What if I wanted it to be “raw vegan” and not cook it.
Hello Ariel! I haven't tried it that way but I think it could work. (Although canned chickpeas are cooked so technically it wouldn't be completely raw.) You could even squeeze a little fresh lime juice on it for some bright flavor if desired. Would love to hear if you give it a go!
Hello has anyone substituted the walnuts with anything that gave similar results as we have a nut allergy house? Thanks.
Hi Vanessa! I haven't tried substituting the walnuts, but if seeds are okay in your house, perhaps sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds could work? Or you could simply add another can of chickpeas, but this won't result in the same texture as the walnuts. Would love to hear if you give it a go!
Could I make this using a different nut like raw cashews or pecans? I’m allergic to walnuts.
Hi Amanda! I've only tested this with walnuts, but I'm guessing pecans would work well too since they're a similar texture. Would love to hear if you give it a go!
My family loved these!! They will now be a regular on the menu in our house!!
So awesome to hear that, Karen! Thanks for your kind feedback!
We made these last night. Delish. Do you have any suggestions for leftovers as far as warming them so that they don’t come out hard or dry? Also, instead of making a taco seasoning we just used an already prepared version.
Hi Sheila! Thrilled to hear you gave these a try and enjoyed! The leftovers do tend to dry out a bit, I agree. For reheating, I simply add a touch of water to the mixture, then stir, and briefly heat in the microwave. (Just adding a little water re-hydrates and moisturizes them beautifully!)
Thanks so much for the kind feedback and for leaving a recipe rating. Wishing you a lovely rest of the week! -Kaitlin